President Carter said yesterday that only upstanding citizens can "knock down" arguments against the Equal Rights Amendment and urged business leaders to make pro-ERA telephone calls to members of the Illinois legislature.

"I will do my part, and then some, and I asked you to do your part and a little bit more," Carter told some 150 business leaders and members of the League of Women Voters in the White House East Room.

A vote on ERA in Illinois, scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed because proponents were not sure they had enough votes to pass the proposal. The vote may occur next week.

Carter said the "main obstacle" to ratification of ERA in states like Illinois and Georgia was "the allelgation that it is only supported by radical kinds of people."

He said the "artificial arguments" ERA opponents use about homosexuality, abortion and shared restrooms "can best be knocked down by a person who's known to be sound land committed and balanced and patriotic with a stable family and a good job. Those are the kinds of people who must speak out."

Thirty-eight states must ratify the amendment, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, before it becomes part of the Constitution. Thirty-five states have ratified so far.