Media giant Time Warner will begin absorbing the extra tax gay workers in domestic partnerships, civil unions or marriages pay for spousal health benefits.

Unlike heterosexual employees, employer-provided health benefits offered to the partners of gay workers are counted as taxable income by the IRS (unless the partner is considered a dependent), because their unions are not recognized by federal agencies. Blocking the IRS from recognizing gay unions is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that defines marriage as a heterosexual union.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate, announced the change in a blog post.

“HRC worked with Time Warner in taking this next step toward full equality for their LGBT employees,” the group stated.

A report released in 2007 by M. V. Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute, found that gay employees with partners pay, on average, $1,069 per year more in taxes than would a married employee with the same coverage.

Time Warner is joining a growing list of companies equalizing benefits for gay workers, including Microsoft, Yahoo!, Bank of America, Google, Morgan Stanley, Facebook and American Express, among others.