An overwhelming majority of American adults say knowing that a company markets its products or services to gays and lesbians would have no impact on their purchasing decisions or attitudes about that company, according to a new study conducted on behalf of FH Out Front, Fleishman-Hillard’s global gay and lesbian communications practice.

The results echo the findings of a similar national survey conducted two years ago, but they come at a time of increasingly contentious debate about the rights of gays and lesbians and their role in American life as the midterm elections approach.

The survey also found that a majority of Americans would “do nothing” to support a boycott against companies targeted for promoting their products to the gay and lesbian community.

“We conducted the first survey in a dramatically different environment for gay and lesbian issues, yet the results from June 2004 were similar to the most current survey taken in May 2006,” says Ben Finzel, co-chair of the practice. “This year’s results confirm that outreach to this audience often makes good business sense.

The gay and lesbian consumer is increasingly important to corporate America, particularly as savvy marketers look for unique ways to differentiate their products and services in an increasingly crowded marketplace.”

More than four out of five (82 percent) of those surveyed in 2006 indicate it does not matter to them if a company whose products they use on a regular basis also promotes them to the gay and lesbian community and two-thirds of American adults surveyed  indicate that knowing a company promotes its products or services to gays and lesbians has no effect on how they feel about the company.