Mass. City to Pay Stipend to Married Gay Workers

Because gay couples face a tax heterosexual couples don't

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 11, 2011 12:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – Some public employees with a same-sex spouse in Massachusetts face a federal income tax their heterosexual counterparts don’t have to pay—so the city of Cambridge is making up the difference. In the city, 22 public workers have put their spouses on their employer-provided health plan. But since the US doesn’t recognize gay marriage, it sees the value of that coverage as taxable income, the AP reports. That costs those workers some $1,500 to $3,000 yearly.

“Two people who do the exact same job should be paid exactly the same for what they are doing at work,” says a city councilor. Adds another: “This is a city that models what equality really means.” The new stipend plan is expected to cost the city about an extra $33,000 a year—and some aren’t happy about it. “It's a travesty of using taxpayer monies to circumvent a national policy,” says a Massachusetts advocate against gay marriage.

A Cambridge couple embraces after lawmakers voted to kill a proposed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, in Boston, June 14, 2007.   (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
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