The City of Miami Beach is expected to become the third Florida municipality to agree to compensate gay workers receiving domestic partner benefits for the extra tax they pay. On Wednesday, the City Commission gave an initial nod to a proposed ordinance.

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). Such benefits are not considered taxable income for married heterosexual employees.

The ordinance sponsored by Commissioner Michael Gongora was unanimously approved on first reading. A friendly amendment submitted by Commissioner Jerry Libbin makes the ordinance effective immediately, instead of next fiscal year, as originally proposed.

A final vote is scheduled for Wednesday, June 5.

“The Tax Equity Program, mostly affecting gay and lesbian employees but not to the exclusion of heterosexual employees, will reimburse city employees who are in a domestic partnerships and are being taxed on the payments they make on their health insurance benefits, unlike heterosexual married couples,” C.J. Ortuno, a member of the Miami Beach Human Rights Committee, which backed the measure, and the executive director of SAVE Dade, wrote in an email to supporters.