About 200 supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment, chanting "One, two, three, Thomson doesn't speak for me," gathered in Alexandira's Market Square yesterday afternoon to protect Virginia Del. James M. Thomson's opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment.
One of the speakers, Susan Marian [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] two, three, Thomas doesn't speak for child Blair, president of Alexandria's chapter of the National Organization for Women, urged the Republican Party to put up a pro-ERA candidate to challenge Thomason in the Nov. 8 general election.
Blair told the ERA proponents, who earlier had driven past Thomson's Alexandria home tooting car horns in protest, "We're not able to get another Democrat to oppose the delegate we want to defeat. So I issue a challenge to the Republican Party (to do so."
Blair said later she had spoken to a Republican who is considering running for a House of Delegates seat from Alexandria, but she declined to identify him, saying only that he is an ERA supporter.
Thomson the House Majority Leader is chairman of the House Privileges and Elections Committee where the ERA has been bottled up since 1972. The House last January rejected a proposed rule change that would have forced the committee Thomson chairs to bring the ERA to the House floor for a vote.
The ERA was defeated in the Virginia Senate last January by one vote when Sen. A. Joseph Canada (R-Virginia Beach) refused at the last minute to vote for the amendment unless a state-wide advisory referendum was held before the state ratification went into effect. Canada won his party's nomination for lieutenant governor on Saturday.
Many of the rally's participants had attended the mid-Atlantic regional conference of NOW in Washington over the weekend.
NOW's national president, Eleanor Smeal, urged the demonstrators to lobby hard for the ERA in Virginia. "Over the next 21 months we shall return . . . until the sight of us makes them say 'ERA all the way,'" she said. Three more states must ratify the proposed amendment by March 22, 1979, to make it part of the U.S. Constitution. Thirty-five states have ratified it so far.
Blair said that some of Thomson's neighbors in Alexandria showed their support for the ERA by joining the demonstration as the motorcade drove past his home. "We hope it'll become contagious," Smeal added.