I am not a fan of "special" interest groups. It sometimes seems to me that they are just this side of blackmail organizations... "Pass this law that gives us power or we'll make sure our members don't vote for you." Conversely, I can see the need for groups that lobby the government on behalf of the people because, without someone to speak for the "common man," our voice would never be heard.
I believe that what you refer to as blackmail organizations might actually apply to certain groups (i.e. Acorn), but for the most part if legislators do not have their arms twisted every once in a while, they tend to forget (at least as demonstrated in their statements and votes) that it is groups of influential people (or those passionate about a given issue) that need to remind these legislators why they are holding positions of political office in the first place: they are there to represent their constituents.
It is true that I tend to think of the "special" interest groups when this topic comes up. Not all interest groups are so self-serving. And I agree that our elected representatives should actually represent us. That seems to be a very foreign idea on Capitol Hill anymore.
Of course, many of us have heard the old bromide — "The squeaky wheel gets the grease"; and it is true in politics. Unfortunately, the voices of traditional values, whereupon this country was founded, are not lobbied enough today.
The phrase "traditional values whereupon this country was founded," and its kin, is used allot but it is such a nebulous one. Whose "traditional values?" The Quakers? The Puritans? The Intellectuals? The plantation owners? The industrialists? The Atheists? Slave owners? Every one of these groups was represented by our Founding Fathers. What traditions are we going to base out values on?
Marriage is not a legal affirmation; it is a covenant between a man and a woman in matrimony, which is recognized by the state for taxation and property purposes. The issue is not to say who is and is not in love; it is to say who can and who cannot be recognized as entering into marriage.
You are correct in that marriage is not a legal affirmation. Marriage is, in fact, a social and cultural invention created for the purpose of economic, social and political gain. It isn't even necessary for the propagation of the species, though it does help in that matter. The concept of it being a "covenant between a man and a woman in matrimony" is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Finally, how does a pair of same-sex individuals propagate their family, the culture, the nation?
How does a pair of blond individuals propagate their family, the culture, the nation? How does a pair of brown-eyed individuals propagate their family, the culture, the nation? How does a pair of [insert racial/ethnic designation] individuals propagate their family, the culture, the nation? How does a pair of dwarfs propagate their family, the culture, the nation?
The notion of what helps the human race is purely set upon the basis of an individual's and group's "world view." Essentially all so-called world views boil down to one of two:
  1. The space-time manifold (or universe) was created by God, and He determines what notion helps the human race.
  2. The space-time manifold (or universe) was the product of disorganized, lifeless energy-matter states that somehow became organized into stable energy-matter states that could support life; and then life itself somehow emerged on to the scene to point at which it exists today over a vast amount of time. This life now directs itself as to what is best for itself without full knowledge of the entirety of all that is contained within this space-time manifold (or universe).
Personally, I throw my lot in with the much simpler, yet more profound world view (that being the former).
This is irrelevant to the topic at hand. Those that believe the former also know that their God gave the human race free will. That is the basis of what government is built on. It is also the basis of the Constitution; religion should not be an integral part of our government.
The confusion many have concerning how to best help the human race seems to come in the form of environment restrictions so pervasive that if I wanted to develop a product that would allow mankind to mine asteroids and refine their products for marketing valuable rare-earth ores (an essential ingredient for much of our products), and then bring the material safely back to Earth (specifically here in California), the EPA and the FAA would have a "field day" with me (e.g. launching/landing facilities, hazardous materials handling, nuclear and propulsion systems manufacturing and production, airspace and local Earth space clearances, and the list goes on). What is sad about all of this, is that the large number of jobs that could be created would be eliminated by the nearly impossible demands and fees of regulatory commissions bent upon upholding their own agenda at the cost of others’ freedoms to engage in entrepreneurialism.
For the most part, I agree with you on this point. While being concerned with, and trying to better the environment of our planet is something we all should be concerned with, the whole Global Warming/Climate Change/"Inconvenient Truth" hypocrisy was created as a way for some people to make a ton of money. Is climate change happening? Yes, no doubt. Is it due to the reasons that the aforementioned groups rant about? Not in the least. All reputable science has proven that six ways from Sunday.
You mentioned Financial Reform. This term is so vague that one might as well be standing in the midst of a thick fog at midnight. I have heard that those who manage money must be "held to account;" very well, held to what standard, and based upon whose statues? Should anyone be allowed to have large sums of money for the purposes of investment and job creation? The government does not realize (or are feigning ignorance for their own bad decisions), that they are not the source of job creation in this economy – those who have working capital and are willing to invest in a business are the ones who can create jobs. I have heard that more regulation needs to be in place on Wall Street; but what does that really mean? Does it mean that there is something going on there that needs actual oversight, or is it that the powers that be do not like that certain entities are making more of a profit than some prescribed amount? Technically the economy, and hence the stock exchange, manages itself. Eventually, the market finds its median performance quotas, and consumers (not the government) regulate how much profiteers make.
Would that this were true. Unfortunately the changes in regulations over the last couple of decades have interfered with the self-correcting abilities of the market. If things were able to manage themselves we would have the situations in Greece, Italy and South America (to name a few) that we have now. How can this be "fixed?" I don't have a clue. The problem isn't with regulations or market fluctuations and such. It is a cultural one. Greed has become a virtue for many. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making a profit. There is no requirement to be philanthropic and give a portion of said profit to anyone. But there is something wrong with looking at the world as a  zero sum game. Certain things, like futures trading and a bunch of other things I can't remember off-hand right now, were regulated into existence for the sole reason of making huge profits at the expense of everyone and everything else. These are the things that need changed if we're going to keep from crashing into a global depression that will make the crash of 1929 look like good times.
Everyone should shoulder their fair share of the economic burden? If, by this the issue of taxation is to be inferred, then this platitude is a source of great contention. Those who receive a tax refund do not pay any taxes in the first place, yet those who are in the top 5% of income in this country (about $160,000 annually and up) pay more than half of the taxes[1] — is that fair? Why not have everyone pay a flat tax — say 10% of income? That would be fair.
Other than the statement about "[t]hose who receive a tax refund do not pay any taxes in the first place" being utterly and ridiculously wrong, I can't argue with your point about the top five percent. Tax refunds are, at best, a small percentage of the amount of taxes one pays.
In any event, history will reveal to future generations fortunate enough to have wisdom to understand our present machinations — I only hope our decisions will be cast in favor of wise preservation and not reckless abandon and foolishness.

[1] http://www.heritage.org/budgetchartbook/top10-percent-income-earners
As long as there are Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, conservationists and industrialists, socialists and capitalists, ad nausea, there will always be recklessness and foolishness. It is, unfortunately, human nature.