These are the latest in a seesawing chain of developments in the battle to end “Don’t ask, don’t tell” once and for all.

Seventeen years of witch-hunts have led to the discharge of thousands of patriotic, qualified American troops. Ending “Don’t ask, don’t tell” cannot happen soon enough. Too many lives and careers have already been destroyed by this immoral, discriminatory and costly policy.

Enough is enough. Politicians and bureaucrats must stop playing politics with people’s lives.

78 percent of Americans say they want “Don't ask, don't tell” repealed. The vast majority of people know that it is wrong to discriminate against courageous and qualified men and women willing to risk their lives by serving in the military.

Too many service members have already been drummed out of the military for nothing other than bias and prejudice, and thousands more live in fear of losing their military careers.

In her ruling last month, Phillips soundly concluded that “Don’t ask, don’t tell” violates the due process and First Amendment rights of service members. She noted that, rather than being necessary for military readiness, the policy has a "direct and deleterious effect" on the armed forces.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is not only unfair, it is illogical. It is a mark of shame that this policy is still in place. The Obama administration and Congress should stop stalling and exercise some leadership by doing all they can to end this policy right now.

It is long past time to close this disgraceful chapter in our nation's history and finally create a path that will end in men and women being able to serve openly, honestly, and to the great benefit of our country.

Rea Carey is the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.