Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty on Saturday described talk of banning Chick-Fil-A over its opposition to gay marriage as “chilling.”

Pawlenty, a Mitt Romney surrogate whose name is on the short list to share the GOP ticket with Romney, told a group of supporters at a Romney campaign event in Cary, North Carolina that he supports Chick-Fil-A.

“Now you have the police power of government intimidating and threatening people, being used to intimidate and threaten people based on their free speech rights and their religious views,” Pawlenty said. “I mean it's chilling. I mean it's stunning, it is jaw-dropping. And so I think strong people who see this need to stand up and say no we don't do that in the United States.”

Pawlenty was referring to Mayors Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Thomas Menino of Boston and Ed Lee of San Francisco, who chided Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy for saying that gay marriage is “inviting God's judgment on our nation.” Menino said he would block efforts by the company to open a restaurant in his city.

(Related: Mayors Michael Bloomberg, Ed Lee differ on Chick-Fil-A ban.)

Pawlenty noted that his chicken strips and waffle fries lunch from Chick-Fil-A “was awesome.”

(Related: Sarah & Todd Palin tweet support for Chick-Fil-A.)