A Turkish government proposal which would pardon some people imprisoned for statutory rape in the past decade has fallen short of passage by legislators.

The proposal would defer sentencing or punishment for sexual assault in cases where there was no force and where the victim and perpetrator were married. Following the defeat late Thursday, the government is bringing the proposal back for consideration next week.

An earlier law, abolished in 2005, said there is no crime if the couple marry.

The proposed change in the law would apply to cases between 2005 and Nov. 16 or this year.

Turkey's ruling party, rooted in Turkey's Islamic movement, says the proposal is meant to protect those who were too young to marry legally.

Another vote is scheduled next week.