The city of Cambridge, Massachusetts has agreed to help pay a federal tax penalty for married gay and lesbian couples, the AP reported.

Because of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bars federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples, the federal government taxes the health benefits of gay couples but not straight couples.

The Cambridge city council last month agreed to a plan to provide a quarterly stipend to gay city or school employees who put a spouse on their health insurance.

The city is believed to be the first municipality to offer such compensation.

“This is about equality,” Marjorie Decker, a Cambridge city councilor, told the news wire service. “This is a city that models what equality really means.”

The city says it has about two dozen workers who quality for the roughly $33,000 stipend.

Mayor David Maher is the city's third consecutive openly gay mayor.

The state of Massachusetts last year challenged the constitutionality of DOMA in federal court and won. The case was among several that prompted the Obama administration to announce it would no longer defend the law in court. However, the Republican-controlled House has agreed to take on the task and has appealed the decision.

Several large corporations, including Google and Facebook, also offer a similar benefit.

Conservative outlet Fox News reported the story with the headline: Cambridge, MA set to Pay Gay Employees More Than Straight.