Why do we not just face hardships instead of asking for fatwas, leniencies? Why should we ask for exceptions? Would working on fatwas/lenience not take away the determination to face the issues? I believe in the end Allah (as he knows our efforts) will reward us justly. So for every problem we face we will have a reward. Then why give and get fatwas? In effect getting the fatwa implies that the deen was hard and we need an exception.
I am not sure why seeking fatwas is translated as seeking way out of the religious obligations. Fatwa is basically one's understanding of the religious ahkaam (edicts). There is no doubt in that there are people who seek fatwas only to learn if there are views relieving one of a responsibility he incurred but this is not the inherent property of every effort to seek the views of the scholars. Laymen in fact need to learn complicated and detailed laws from the scholars. I have a general understanding of the laws of the land but there are at times issues regarding which I need to consult the lawyers. Same is the case in the religious issues. Commoner man needs to turn to the experts in this field to learn the stance of religion on an issue and its application in their life.