Opponents of Referendum 71 embrace any confusion they can muster about the law to expand rights for registered domestic partners and their families. This is not confusing. Mark the ballot "approved."

ANY suggestion of voter confusion, real or not, favors opponents of Referendum 71, which seeks to expand rights for registered domestic partners and their families. Foes want it to seem a messy jumble.

The desire to preserve families and equally protect children and adults in all committed relationships could not be more straightforward. No confusion about that.

Marking the R-71 ballot space “approved” endorses Senate Bill 5688, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Keep that in mind amid all the arm waving and headlines as a challenge to the state’s Open Records Act works its way through the legal system.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy stopped a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals order to Secretary of State Sam Reed to release the names of petition signers who put the domestic-rights bill before voters.

Kennedy’s action halts any disclosure as the case of those who oppose release continues. The arguments, hyperbole and outcome are not connected to the question before voters on Nov. 3.

R-71 is solely about putting all families on equal footing with the law on sick-leave policy, wages and benefits, insurance rights, adoption, child custody and child support.

Nothing could be more fundamental, traditional and cautious — yes, conservative — than ensuring government rules allow all families to take care of their own within the law. R-71 removes the impediments. Approval removes doubt and confusion.