BOSTON (CBS) – It appears Mayor Menino’s backing away from the hard line he took against Chick-fil-A restaurant.

After its owner spoke out against gay marriage, the mayor warned the chain wouldn’t be welcome in Boston.

But now his tone isn’t quite as threatening.

Menino hoped his “get lost” message to Chick-fil-A would take hold.

He’s getting plenty of support for it, but also some backlash.

“I’m concerned about his stance on this,” State Senator Jack Hart, a Democrat from South Boston, told WBZ-TV.

Hart is usually a Menino ally, but on this:

“People have the right to believe in what they believe in and to, under free speech and the constitution, to say what they believe, as long as it’s not hurtful. so I think we should consider tolerance in this case,” he said.

I asked the mayor – what other types of political beliefs are not welcome to do business in the city?

“My philosophy on this is, if they’re gonna hurt people’s rights, if there’s social justice involved, I’m gonna speak up on that no matter what it is.”

But Chick-fil-A owner Dan Cathy hasn’t been accused of discriminating against gay people in his restaurants.

So I asked Menino – what threat did this business owner’s positions pose?

“Not a threat, just what he says,” Menino told WBZ-TV.

“I don’t like it and I expressed my opinion and everybody’s just jumping on it. I have a right to make my opinion.”

Here’s the rest of my exchange with the mayor:

Keller: “Well originally, you threatened to make it hard for him to open here.”

Menino: “Well, initially,”

Keller: “But, did you make a mistake?”

Menino: “I make mistakes all the time.”

Keller: “Was that one of them?”

Menino: “It was a Meninoism.”

The mayor in the past has used that term to describe his penchant for amusing malapropisms.

Now, it seems we have a new definition – a passionate reaction expressed as a threat that exceeds his legal power to deliver on it.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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